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Subject: USA takes Europe and Soviets win chess match rss

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Philip Thomas
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Another pair of Twilight Struggle games today: first against James who hadn't played before, second against Sean who had.

James was USSR by preference. He used his influence to take Poland and Czechoslakia, while I played 4 in West Germany and 3 in Italy. James had a bit of trouble with the Headlines rule, trying to play Headlines cards for Ops. Anyway, my Headline was Marshall Plan, about as good as it gets! Since I had Un Intervention and De Gaulle leads France, I felt safe about dropping an influence in France. James played Blockade, on which I discarded Warsaw Pact. Play proceeded fairly evenly, James removing my influence in France and Israel with Suez Crisis, I managed to take Taiwan. James played Containment as his last card, very sensibly. I played Vietnam Revolts and launched a coup in Vietnam, rolling a 6. Six, plus one for Containment, plus 2 Ops value, -2 stability, 7 swing! Actually we miscounted at this point and gave me 7 influence, a swing of 9. Not that it would have made any difffernce, James never tried to take Vietnam...he thought it quite funny I had sewn Vietnam up as US!

Next turn I started with Purge, always good. The scoring cards were evens, good for me. We continued placing influence, I began to spread out in SE Asia. I had drawn Fidel, and managed to hold onto it. James played Romanian Abdication. I use the Japan Defence Pact for ops to take Japan and Philippines. James had South Korea, I think. Anyway, turn 3 we dealt the discards and low and behold, I drew Purge again. James was not too pleased. I put Fidel into space, and then used Independent Reds and Truman Doctrine against Rumania. James had taken some African places with Decolonisation, and also had used De Gaulle, but overall I was pleased.

Mid war began with me playing Salt Negotiations and recalling Purge, playing it for the third turn in a row! James had some points for Africa scoring, I took a lot of points for SE Asia scoring. John Paul II became Pope, causing James to look to Poland. I played Cuban Missile Crisis, which James couldn't dispel because Castro was in Earth Orbit...the only route in would have been a coup in Panama or Liberation Theology...

I continued to build up my prescence in the Americas, scoring well for them, and was able to resist a little in Africa with Colonial Rearguards. I also took Saudi Arabia, though I lost it to Islamic Revolution a little later. How I learned to Stop Worrying proved handy. Camp David Accords helped too, and the 4 Ops from Flower Power. As we entered the Late War my victory seemed certain. James was ahead on the Space race by some way, but even that was a mixed blessing. My turn 8 Headline was "An Evil Empire" cancelling Flowepower before it did anything. James played the Iron Lady. I discarded Warsaw Pact on Latin American Debt crisis. Fidel became the first American in space. James used Tear Down this Wall in space. Iranian Hostage Crisis did some damage and we went into turn 9 about even. I sent Gorbachev (The Reformer) into space and with Terrorism caused James to discard Glasnost. James played Chernoybl and I specified Europe. I used East European Unrest and took East Germany. James built up position in the Middle East before finally playing Solidarity, and my final card allowed me to take Poland. I thus had control of Europe, (which had been scored earlier in the turn). If I could keep it in turn 10 I would win the game outright, though to be fair I would have had no problem on the points front...

Turn 10 opened with me getting stuck in a Quagmire: the Quagmire consumed South African Unrest and Liberation Theology before being dispelled by Iran Contra Scandals. James did not try to counter my position in Europe, focusing on the Middle East again. Once I had extricated myself, I began to repair the Middle East, though only for form's sake. The game ended and I claimed the win for Europe. James was pleased he had only lost by 7 points, although of course if we had counted points he would have lost by quite a bit more!

General Comments: My ability to get rid of Fidel and Warsaw Pact was very useful in this game: James never got into Central America and his European position was weakened.


A few hours (and my first Caylus victory) later, I faced Sean. Sean had lost as USA to -20 Vps on turn 8 last . He wanted to play USA again. As I would be changing sides I liked this arrangment. I played my signature 3 in Poland 3 in Finland. Sean played 4 in West Germany 2 in Italy 1 in France. His Headline was Captured Nazi Scientist, mine Arab-Israeli War, which I won. I followed up with Korean war which I lost. Sean reinforced South Korea with 1 Influence, also boosting Iran. I played the China card for 5 Influence in South Korea. Sean played the Marshall Plan for Ops, getting influence in Europe. I played Nato for Ops, taking Sweden. I followed this up with Warsaw Pact for Ops, taking Denmark. This solid Scandinavian position would serve me well all game. Meanwhile Sean took Taiwan and Japan and Philipppines, using AJMDP for Ops, and passed the Formosan Resolution. I took Afghanistan and then Pakistan.

In the next turn I was able to play Independent Reds and remove it from the game with no effect, then playing Romanian Abdication and Comecon. Sean used Truman Doctrine to remove one of my Comecon Influence. Nasser took Egypt, and I took control of Syria and Lebanon. Fidel gave me the vital bridge to Latin America, while Decolonisation established position in Africa. Vietnam Revolts helped me into SE Asia. Sean and I began an arms race in Thailand that would eventually see me having 9 Influence there to his 7, but for now it was just a little bit.

Turn 4 brought Africa scoring, a bonus for me. He benefited from South America scoring. I played Red Scare and then Quagmire, but he had a 3 Ops red event and then extricated himself without difficulty. De-Stalinisation appeared and I used it to relocate from Eastern Europe Venzuela and Mexico. Sean was very found of spending 2 ops to break into a country I controlled, even when I could take control back with 1 ops: hence the arms race in Thailand, and to a lesser extend Irag and East Germany. The Iraq case worked out to his advantage in the end mind you. Anyway, turn 5 he played Cuban Missile Crisis and I fortunately used Brush War to avoid its effects (I still couldn't launch coups, but I wasn't going to lose Vps for it!). He used John Paul II for Ops. I was quite some way ahead on the space race. Turn 6 I played How I Learned to Stop Worrying, set Defcon to 5, and used a 4 Ops card to launch a coup in Italy. I roled a 3, eliminating his influence and giving me 1 Influence there. He didn't counter and I was able to take control of Italy next play. I then moved into France, and the timely appearance of De Gaulle allowed me to take this Battleground country as well...if West Germany fell... Sean kept pushing East Germany, reasonably emough. Brandt was helpful, but Sean repaired the damage this time. We entered the Late War with the Vp marker at -1. I was able to play Solidarity without effect because John Paul wasn't in play. I sent Tear Down this Wall to the Space Race, but I couldn't prevent East European Unrest: I managed to repair Poland and East Germany, but Rumania never recovered. Sean kept playing for Ops, even Marshall Plan, Chernobyl and the Iron Lady! He did suceed in gulling me into placing more influence in Libya before he bombed it for 2 Vps, and he also put the Reformer on the Space Race. Using Colonial Rearguards he reversed the situation in Africa and scored for domination. Round 10 arrived, and he played Iran-Iraq War, conquering Iraq and turning 6 Soviet Influence into 9 Usa Influence (he had 3 there already, the arms race, remember?).I played Iranian Hostage Crisis and then Terrorism, which got rid of Glasnost and an Evil Empire. He had put a couple influence in Israel, so I was able to use Suez Crisis, in the late 1980s! I had drawn War Games, with Defcon at 3 and me on 10 Vps. He took it down to 8 before I was able to play the War Games and win. Once again I would have won on points anyway, but it was getting late.

General comments: I don't think Sean spent his influence wisely: he should have gone for neutral countries or used coups rather than fight me where I was strongest. He also neglected Europe strangely: the faliure to use Marshall Plan as an event was the most striking instance.

In both games my opponents made several attempts to blow up the world, but I always pointed this out to them and then they retracted. The attempts were always a coup in a battleground country at Defcon 2, rather than any more sophisticated approach (which was just as well, I would likely have claimed the win for Olympic games, or the like).

A great pair of games!

 
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Philip Thomas
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The first game, although I took Taiwan, I lost it straight away to a coup as James rolled a 6, eliminating all 3 of my influence. He was going to try a coup in Japan but I pointed out that he couldn't possibly get a positive score!

 
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Jason Weed
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I've played a few games now where one side concentrated mostly on Europe and lost because of scoring (twice to wargames). I once had control, but no Europe scoring before wargames.
 
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